Heritage

Public hall (later St James Theatre), Tuam Street, Christchurch

Public hall (later St James Theatre), Tuam Street, Christchurch

Public hall (later St James Theatre), Tuam Street, Christchurch
[ca. 1885]

The Tuam Street public hall was designed in the early 1880s by T.S. Lambert (d. 1915) and opened on 20 July 1883, seating 2,200 including a gallery seating 600. It was built by a syndicate of citizens who ran it for some years. It became the Opera House in July 1894. Benjamin Fuller (1875-1952) moved in on 19 Feb. 1903, presenting vaudeville. In 1927 E.S. Luttrell (1872-1932) reshaped the interior and the New Opera House opened on 26 Dec., seating 1,300. The stage was 60' wide, 60' deep and 40' high, and there were 19 dressing rooms. It turned to film in 1930 and was renamed the St James on 26 July. Though used primarily for movies, the stage was retained and the building used occasionally for live entertainment. On 29 Sept. 1960 it became the Odeon. It had been extensively altered and seated 720, 600 stalls making way for a coffee lounge. Christchurch Assembly of God bought the building in 1985 and re-opened it in Oct. 1985 as their place of worship. In Nov. 2003 it was sold to a group of Christchurch business people.

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File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0072

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